According to Marquette lacrosse head coach Joe Amplo, when first meeting Marquette lacrosse junior Andrew Smistad, you could easily be intimidated by his long blonde hair, imposing build and resemblance to Bon Jovi. Amplo a;so said this is a reminder not to “
judge a book by its cover.”
“Smistad is one of those guys that does things to the best of his ability all the time,” Amplo said. “Whether its on the field, in the weight room or in the classroom, he’s always trying to push himself past his limits.”
Smistad made his way to Marquette after Presbyterian College decided to discontinue its men’s lacrosse program. He was a close defender for the Blue Hose, but the Marquette coaching staff decided to convert him to a defensive midfielder.
Although experienced as a close defender, Smistad knew that the move would better the team. His roots with the close defensive side of the game go back a few years, as he played defense for the 2008 Jr. ‘A’ Calgary Mountaineers team that went on to win the Canadian Box National Championship. On that same team were Tyler and Matt Melnyk, two brothers that also played for Presbyterian and brought their talents to Marquette.
Amplo sees a lot of coach John Orsen in Smistad. Orsen was a player under Amplo at Hofstra and similarly had his position switched to benefit the team.
“(Smistad) is a lot like coach Orsen in the sense that he shows up and does his work on a daily basis,” Amplo said.
As a junior and having played two years at Presbyterian and several years of club lacrosse with Calgary, Smistad is one of the most experienced players on the team. He believes that one of his strengths is that he is able to voice his experience to underclassmen on the team.
“I’ll listen to what everyone else has to say. I don’t always get mad when someone makes a mistake, but I point it out to them,” Smistad said. “Being respectful is another thing. I’m looking at making the team work together well instead of being a dictator type of leader.”
Sophomore Ben Dvorak has been working with Smistad for a year, and Smistad’s character and ambition is something Dvorak admires after he was able to get to know him.
“He’s the type of guy that won’t miss class. He’s always on time. He’s always working the hardest, and you don’t have to ask him to do that because it’s natural for him,” Dvorak said. “You immediately notice those things about his work ethic and the way he carries himself.”
With the position change, Smistad is not likely to start racking up accolades right away, but Amplo believes that he will always have an impact in the team in other ways.
“I would be shocked if when it comes time to elect a captain for this team that (Smistad) is not one of the guys that most players considered,” Amplo said. “He’s the type of person that will always impact the team on the field, because he’s always going to work as hard as he can.”